Archive for the ‘Budget Traveler’ Category

From New York to…Amsterdam

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

New York and Amsterdam. These two cities together have a context that brings to mind debauchery and nighttime revelry that you’re bound to regret the next morning. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Today, we’re talking about confusion.

Any city is confusing if you’ve never lived there before. You don’t know the neighborhoods or the areas to avoid, and you’re bound to get lost the first few times you visit. Sometimes this is fun and you can find new places, but most of the time it’s just inconvenient.

So here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your time in both of these gorgeous cities:

http://wallup.net/wp-content/

http://wallup.net/wp-content/

Taken by Jainita Patel

Taken by Jainita Patel

 

Roads and Rivers.

Every place has a certain road or river that brings a level of comfort since you know that when you find it, you can find your way home. The best way to orient yourself in either city is to find that one road. In New York, for the first few years that road was Broadway. No matter where I was, if I could find Broadway, I could get home even if my phone was dead. As time moved on and I switched apartments, my main landmark became the East or Hudson River. In New York, we get lucky as we’re on an island and a grid system. Try going to Boston or Amsterdam and this becomes a little more complicated. In Amsterdam, I’d suggest making the Prins Hendrikkade road and s100 highway your main roads. These are a bit on the outskirts, but they encompass most of the Centrum or downtown. If you go past that, the Amstel Canal is your best bet.

 

Neighborhoods.

Familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods before you decide to go to visit them. I’m more comfortable downtown than uptown, but once a few of my friends moved to the Heights and Harlem, I decided to find my main roads up there just incase I couldn’t charge my phone at night. This might come in handy, especially out in the boroughs. In Amsterdam, the canals are beautiful, but they can seriously confuse you, especially if you decide to live outside of Centrum, so it might be good to familiarize yourself with the main roads ahead of time as well.

 

Public Transport.

You don’t have to know where you are if you can find the one train station that will take you anywhere—or at least home after a long night. In New York, Midtown is probably a good place to start. 42nd St. and 34th St. have most of the lines you’ll need to journey in Manhattan. If you get on the wrong train, don’t worry. Just climb abroad one going back to that central station and try again. NYC’s subways are tricky to get used to at first, but in a week you’ll get it down. The maps are pretty easy to read and are available in most subway carts and stations. At Amsterdam Central Station, you can find a metro, bus, or tram to wherever you need to go and can easily purchase a temporary OV-chipkaart at the station.

 

Embrace It.

If you have time to get lost, embrace it. You’ll find some of the coolest spots when you’re not looking for them or staring at your GPS trying to see where you missed that last turn. Amsterdam, especially is beautiful and relatively safe to wander at night. On the canals you’ll see some of the most beautiful sights a city has to offer. New York isn’t short on its beautiful spots either. East River Park is stunning and the sight of the Freedom Tower is something to marvel at when the sun is setting.

 

http://brokelyn.com/

http://brokelyn.com/

Taken by Jainita Patel

Taken by Jainita Patel

And of course, if you have a GPS app on your phone, you don’t even have to worry about this, so enjoy yourself! Get lost on purpose and let the freedom of it wash over you. And who knows? If you like getting lost in New York or Amsterdam, hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit the other some day.

Stay rad,
Jainita

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By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

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From New York to…Stockholm

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

It’s hard not to feel fed up in a city. Your apartment has roaches the size of rats, you step in a mysterious liquid almost every day, and the F train is late again. Worst of all, people seem to be everywhere when you don’t want to be near them, but nowhere when you need them. The isolation is a lot to handle.

New York’s not the only city in the world that can make you feel isolated. Stockholm, in its cold, distant beauty is also like this in that it can be a fairly lonely city, even after you’ve lived there for a while.

But maybe isolation isn’t such a bad thing—think of it as solitude instead. For one, you have friends, but you just don’t want to be around them at the moment and that’s okay. Everyone feels this way at one point or another in New York and in Stockholm and here are a few ways to spend your time in solitude to get you loving your city again:

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/

https://c1.staticflickr.com/

https://c1.staticflickr.com/

 

Be Productive.

I’m not joking. Without the need to be around friends to distract you, you can get a lot of work done. Though the sight of people isn’t great when you want to be alone, a quiet coffee shop might help you stay focused. In Stockholm, a good place to do this might be in Gamla Stan’s Chokladkoppen, or if you’re not in the mood to deal with the tourists of Gamla Stan, maybe just go to your local Espresso House instead. In New York, finding a quiet coffee shop is can require quite the hike. If you’re up for it, the Little Chair in Two Bridges is worth the journey. Or maybe just stick to a Think Coffee in the Village. Either way, a coffee shop is a great way to be productive and get away from most people you know.

 

Treat Yourself.

Not in the mood to see anyone? Great! This is the perfect time to take a page out of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle’s book: Treat yourself. New York and Stockholm are both great cities to do so. Need a new work outfit? Treat yourself. Want to dye your hair? Treat yourself. Want that thousand calorie dessert? No one’s there to judge you. Treat. Your. Self. Even so, sometimes you want to treat yourself without breaking the bank and the Campus Clipper has great deals for gelato places like Unico or relaxing spas like the Lilac Spa on 1st Ave. In NYC, when you want to go shopping, you go to 5th Ave. In Stockholm, you go to Södermalm where you can find anything from desserts at Casja Warg to unique clothes at Beyond Retro.

 

Scenic Self-Reflection.

So every time you want to go see something cool outside of Gamla Stan or Soho, your friends are always there to bog you down. Well, now’s the time for your vision journey. It’s time to leave your neighborhood and go see the sights of your beautiful city. In Stockholm, why not take an archipelago tour and see the breathtaking islands that surround Stockholm (bring a jacket) or go to the Moderna Museet and see that exhibition you’ve been wanting to check out? In New York, go up to Inwood and to view the Hudson from the Cloister’s Museum or head to the Brooklyn or Bronx Botanical Gardens. These places are great to take a step back and think while you’re alone.

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View from the Cloisters https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/

View from the Cloisters
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/

 

The archipelago. Taken by Jainita Patel.

The archipelago.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

Do that One Thing You’ve Been Putting Off.

What’s the one thing you’ve wanted to do or have been meaning to do and just never got around to it? Is it nerding out at Science Fiction Bokhandlen in Gamla Stan or wandering the Strand for hours? Is it going to a certain museum or to see a certain site? Is it taking an MMA Bootcamp class at Nimble Fitness (coupon in the Campus Clipper)? Well now’s your shot. Do it.

The Strand. https://i1.wp.com/

The Strand.
https://i1.wp.com/

 

Gamla Stan. Taken by Jainita Patel.

Gamla Stan.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

Cities can be a pain when you’re feeling a little alone, but there’s always a way to embrace it and make the most of the amazing place you live in. Whether it’s Stockholm or New York, being alone sometimes can be beneficial to your mental health and give you a moment to reflect. And who knows? If you like the idea of exploring NYC or Stockholm alone, maybe you’ll get to explore the other city some day as well.

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By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

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From New York to….Dublin

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

When living in a big city, one of the best parts of the whole experience is the nightlife. Nightlife can in New York, with bars and venues to frequent and the never-ending flash of lights and promise.

Even so, it’s important to have fun and be safe while exploring the endless options New York has to offer. Just like New York, Dublin also has an air of fun that is accessible with an inexhaustible number of options.

http://www.activebackpacker.com

http://www.activebackpacker.com

stock-photo-temple-bar-district-in-dublin-at-night-100904953

https://lonelyplanetimages.imgix.net/

So what variety of activities can you do in New York and in Dublin after dark? Well in NYC after dark, the East Village is the place to be and in Dublin, the area around Temple Bar lives up to its name. Here a list of a few activities you can try in both cities that are sure to give you a night you’ll never forget:

Bars and Pubs

Drinking culture is very different in America and in Europe, but each definitely has its perks. In terms of bar culture, New York tends to be very loud and aggressive with tons of people and of course, tons of hard liquor. But if that’s your kind of scene, Keybar or Hair of the Dog might just be the place for you. If you happen to be in Dublin and are looking for something similar, try Temple Bar or the area around it. Though it’s a pub, with the amount of tourists and crowds there, it’ll feel just like an America bar. Pub culture, which is much more popular in Europe, tends to revolve around sitting and nursing a drink for a long time at a table of people. If this is more your speed, try the Mad Hatter on 3rd Ave in NYC. In Dublin, pubs are everywhere and Toners or Arthur’s Pub are great little places to drink and let loose on your night out. Themed pubs and bars are also big in New York. New York’s selection includes 60s beauty salons bars, Soviet Russia-themed bars, rooftop bars, and even one themed like a zombie hut!

Keybar http://keybar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2013-nov-102.jpg

Keybar
http://keybar.com/

Temple Bar Taken by Jainita Patel

Temple Bar
Taken by Jainita Patel

Clubs

Clubs are a good place if you don’t drink, but still want to have a crazy night out. The clubbing experience is not as popular or essential to a night out as going to bars or pubs in New York or Dublin, but it can certainly add a twist of fun to your night. If you’re avoiding Webster Hall in New York, Henrietta Hudson is a highly popular gay club in the West Village for good reason. Brooklyn also has some worthwhile clubs such as Bembe an exuberant Latin club in Williamsburg. In Dublin, Club Nassau is excellent if you want to dance the night away.

Food

If you want a more relaxed approach to a night out, food might be the way to go. Though Dublin doesn’t have many late-night venues open, Good World Chinese has great Dim Sum served until 3am. If you’re going from New York to Dublin and want some late night pizza, DiFontaine’s Pizza is open until 1am and apparently has pizza to rival NYC’s. In New York, you’ll find a ton of places that stay open way past a normal person’s bedtime—after all, it is the city that never sleeps—but once you get sick of dollar pizza, The Cheese Grille serves the best grilled cheese in the city and is open until 1am, but if you’re feeling fancy, Max Brenner on Broadway can be your midnight guilty pleasure.

Music and Comedy Venues

Music is a unique way to spend your night if you want to avoid the drinking scene. Arlene’s Grocery has different rock bands that perform every week. If you’re ever in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Night Bazaar is also has popular artists that you can jam out to while playing games, eating local food, and shopping. In terms of comedy, Gotham Comedy Club is super popular in NYC and the Upright Citizens Brigade never fails to get some laughs. In Dublin, Whelan’s is a live music club that’s super casual and relaxed with deep Irish roots. Vicar Street holds events in both comedy and music. The Workman’s Club is a bar in Dublin, but it also hosts awesome artists that are crazy talented and most nights you can get in for less than €20.

Brooklyn Night Bazaar http://assets.nydailynews.com/

Brooklyn Night Bazaar
http://assets.nydailynews.com/

Vicar Street https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/

Vicar Street
https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/

So there it is, a nice compact list of things you can do when the sun goes down in both cities. Whether you’re out to forget the night the next morning or you’re getting dressed up just to go grab food and see a show, have fun and stay safe. And hey, maybe if you like the nightlife in NYC you’ll get a chance to experience it in Dublin one day or vice versa.

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By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

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From New York to…Edinburgh

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

It’s a big change, moving from a small town to a big city. It feels too vast, too claustrophobic, too many people in too many streets that twist and turn into each other like streams in never-ending deltas.

It’s not just a specific city, though. Anywhere from New York to Paris to Mumbai can feel like that when you’ve never experienced it before. Sure, moving to a city can be exciting, but even that doesn’t completely erase the other feelings.

But there’s some comfort. Every big city can feel like a small town once you recognize the spots that feel a little cozier, the neighborhoods that feel more like lakes than constant oceans. In New York, that means avoiding midtown at all times and in Edinburgh, it means fleeing tourists on the Royal Mile, especially during the summer months.

Why compare New York to Edinburgh when talking about a small town feeling? Well, both cities hold a relatively large percent of their country’s population in a very compact space for the number. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by either when you’re not from the area, but they each have unique spots that make you feel like you never left the small place you grew up in.

https://www.favrify.com/

https://www.favrify.com/

https://edinburgh-chamber-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/

https://edinburgh-chamber-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/

Avoid tourist destinations

New York and Edinburgh both have a large tourism industry concentrated in a highly dense area, and if you spend a lot of time there you will feel overwhelmed by your new city life. For Edinburgh, this is a lot less important since the Royal Mile has a lot of less crowded spots where there are virtually no people such as the Writer’s Museum. However for New York, any street you visit in Midtown during the middle of the day is pretty much guaranteed to be crowded.

Try new neighborhoods

Instead of tourist areas, try opting for new neighborhoods in both cities. Both Hamilton and Washington Heights in New York are great places to feel like you’re in the suburbs again. With the lack of the ever-present crowd, the water on both sides, and the plethora of parks like Fort Washington and Highbridge, it’s a great area with a casual, residential feel. Coffee shops like The Chipped Cup give a cozy, warm feeling without escaping the novelty of New York. For Edinburgh, nothing gets away from big city life and screams small town like nature. Calton Hill is smack in the center of the city and a great place to hang out if you want to avoid the crowds at Arthur’s Seat. Or if a hike isn’t your cup of tea, try the area around Dean’s Garden and Cemetery— it’s super cozy and beautiful.

Chipped Cup Coffee http://www.chippedcupcoffee.com

Chipped Cup Coffee
http://www.chippedcupcoffee.com

 

View from Calton Hill Taken by Jainita Patel

View from Calton Hill
Taken by Jainita Patel

Take a day trip

One of the best parts about living in a small town is being able to drive and see another place. In both New York City and Edinburgh, you can still access new places even without a car. For New York, if you’re an experienced hiker and need to get out for a day, take a train from Grand Central to Fishkill, NY ($25-$30 one way, about 2 a hour journey) and hike Breakneck Ridge. If that seems a little too intense, try a day tour with Vertically Inclined ($35, about an hour’s journey) to Anthony’s Nose in the Bronx. In Edinburgh, if the breathtaking view from atop Calton Hill wasn’t enough, maybe try a trip into a Highland with Rabbies (tours range from £28 to £42).

View from the Breakneck Ridge Trail. https://cdn-files.apstatic.com/hike/

View from the Breakneck Ridge Trail.
https://cdn-files.apstatic.com/hike/

View from Loch Lomand (Peaking into the Scottish Highlands) Taken by Jainita Patel

View from Loch Lomand (Peaking into the Scottish Highlands) and me.
Taken by Jainita Patel

 

Talk to your neighbors.

Yup, it’s as simple (or as difficult) as that. The ease of living in a small town is that you know a lot of people. Without that social cushion, cities can seem cold and awkward. In Edinburgh, most people tend to be friendly and generous with their conversation and advice if you can muster the courage to ask them. In New York, people can be a bit tougher to crack, but frequenting a local coffee shop or other nearby venue is guaranteed to have the barista or another frequent patron notice you and that could be a good way into a friendship that can make the big city seem a little smaller.

These few tips can help you feel a little less alone and scared in a big city. Both places require quite the adjustment period, but trust me, soon it will start to feel like home again and you’ll get a lot more comfortable. And who knows? If you like how New York or Edinburgh can start to feel like a small town, hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit the other city someday and find the same feeling there as well.


By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

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Study Abroad, Get Hired: Virginia Yu, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

It’s hard to argue that there are many benefits to studying abroad, and for MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) graduate, Virginia Yu, it gave her a unique job opportunity as well.

“I’ve always loved traveling and learning about new cultures,” the 22-year-old says.

Yu attended the Danish Institute for Study abroad (DIS) in her spring semester of 2013. The school is located in Copenhagen, Denmark — “The land of LEGOs and awesome architecture!” she quips.

The tuition to study abroad was actually cheaper in Denmark than in Baltimore because Yu didn’t have to pay for extra on-campus fees. Her trip included classes, housing, two study tour trips, transportation in Copenhagen, and food expenses in the form of a prepaid grocery card. Yu also had grants and financial aid from MICA that carried on for her spring semester abroad, including a presidential scholarship and a MICA talent grant.

Virginia Yu smiles for the camera overlooking a typical Denmark scene.

Virginia Yu smiles for the camera overlooking a typical Denmark scene.

“[One way] I saved money was by not eating out and always asking for student discounts when I did eat out,” she says. “Copenhagen offered plenty of them because the majority of people were students.” Education is free in Denmark, so many people there are obtaining their masters. Because of this, many stores and cafes offer student discounts.

Yu ended up staying in Denmark for a total of eight months after she secured an internship with Seidenfaden Design Copenhagen for the summer.

“I felt really fortunate to have that opportunity because it allowed me to have more time in Denmark and to see the country more,” she says. “The best part, of course, was being able to work internationally and to compare the work environment to how things were like back home.”

She said that in Denmark there were better wages, more time off and less pressure — a very different working environment than one would find in Baltimore or New York City.

Brainstorming at work.

Brainstorming at work.

For college students, resume building is everything and having work experience abroad can really help someone stand out from other applicants.

“I gained a worldly knowledge, a chance to see the world, an opportunity to study overseas, which lead to working overseas, and lastly a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget,” Yu says. “It has helped me become the person I am today.

“You learn to redefine what home is and you learn to infuse another culture to call your own.”

And really, isn’t that what studying abroad is all about?

Copenhagen landscape.

Copenhagen landscape.

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You can check out Virginia Yu‘s work at http://missyudesigns.com/

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram:slevitz

Follow the Campus Clipper on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!

Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

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Why You Should Study Abroad: Leah Zarra, London, UK

Monday, October 27th, 2014

 

Leah Zarra posing in front of a sign for the famous Abbey Road.

Leah Zarra posing in front of a sign for the famous Abbey Road.

 

“I just loved being so independent and being totally immersed in another city,” says Leah Zarra, 22, a Texas native and Drew University graduate.

Zarra participated in a semester-long study abroad program to London through her New Jersey college back in the fall of 2012. “I couldn’t wait to experience another culture,” she says, “even though London isn’t the first to jump to mind when you think ‘foreign’.”

According to Zarra, the full semester trip to London cost the same amount as a regular, on-campus semester. The trip included: tuition, housing in a flat with other people from her college, and a 2-zone Oyster card—similar to a Metrocard, allowing Zarra unlimited access to the Tube (subway) within specified zones.

When it came to financial resources to help fund her trip, Zarra had it covered.

“I had an annual Dean’s award scholarship all through college, so this carried over to my semester abroad,” she explains.

Zarra was able to take classes such as London Literature, British Political Drama, Modern British History and a required colloquium course. She earned 16 credits studying abroad—more credits than she would have earned in one semester staying on campus in the States.

Zarra and her friends riding the Tube.

Zarra and her friends riding the Tube. (Zarra is second from the right.)

When it came to saving money while abroad, Zarra made sure to budget wisely.

“As college students, we all try to be frugal, so we kept our eyes out for free food and events,” she says referring to her study abroad group. “If you’re looking, they’re easy to find. One professor told us about a group of Hare Krishna monks that served free curry every day. Food is a big one to save on.”

When asked if she would recommend her study abroad program to someone else, Zarra responded with a resounding “yes!”

“I learned so much, and not just in the classroom,” she says. “We didn’t just read famous British authors; our professors took us on walking tours around the city to see where Great Expectations took place, [or] where Virginia Woolf walked every day. As cliché as it sounds, I truly found a piece of myself there.”

Sometimes students take out some loans to study abroad and Zarra believes it’s absolutely worth it.

“Go into it with a positive attitude, and appreciate everything you see,” she says. “Make an effort to appreciate the privileges you didn’t realize you had. You will never have another chance like this.”

The famous Big Ben and Westminster Abbey: one of the many pictures Zarra took on her trip.

The famous Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. One of the many photos Zarra took while on her trip.

 

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram:slevitz

Follow the Campus Clipper on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!

Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

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#MakingMemories: How to Document a Study Abroad Trip

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

#tbt (noun) – A hashtag frequently used to brag on social media about past travel adventures.

However, Instagram-ing your “Throwback Thursday” pictures isn’t the only way you can document your study abroad adventures—though it is a popular one.

Journaling is another inexpensive way to preserve your trip memories without breaking the bank. It can be difficult to have the discipline to write in a journal every day, but in doing so you’ll have something to look back on for years to come.

 

The journal that I kept during my study abroad program in China. The cover is decorated with stickers and ticket stubs that I collected during my month-long adventure.

The journal that I kept during my study abroad program in China. The cover is decorated with stickers and ticket stubs that I collected during my month-long adventure.

 

Journaling can be an intimate experience, but for those looking for a more public outlet, social media is the way to go. Many travelers hoping to update friends and family overseas may want to consider creating an Instagram account. It’s free, works through WiFi and is a quick and easy way to document the highlights of your travels.

Some travelers do not understand the need to take frequent photographs, however past study abroad students, like Kimberly Rogers, 21, disagree.

“I am definitely the type of person to take a lot of pictures when I go on a trip,” she says. “People tell me to stop and take in the beauty of wherever I am, [but] I’m gonna want to look back and reminisce.” Rogers recently traveled to China with CUNY Brooklyn College in the summer of 2013. “I can be one of those old grandmas who tell my grandkids to come look at how cool I was [through pictures]!”

Kimberly Rogers holding the scrapbook she made after her study abroad trip to China.

Kimberly Rogers holding the scrapbook she made after her study abroad trip to China.

With more and more advances in technology every year, the amount of photos we can take and store is growing. Many of these photos get mindlessly uploaded to websites like Facebook and Flicker without a second glance, but the more creative you are with your photos the more memorable your trip will be.

Scrapbooking, a widely practiced pastime in the United States, is a useful tool for preserving study abroad memories. Rogers, who frequently used Instagram during her trip to China, also created a scrapbook upon her return home.

“I think it’s really important to document my travels,” she says, displaying her China scrapbook.

Four pages from Rogers' China scrapbook.

Four pages from Rogers’ China scrapbook.

 

The scrapbook that she created contains photographs of her friends, landmarks and other memories of her trip. She bought stickers that went along with the China theme and decorative paper to make the pictures pop.

Some places to go for cheap deals on scrapbooking supplies are stores like Target, Amazing Savings and Michaels.

“I could have just printed out pictures,” Rogers says, “but I wanted to put effort into what I collected and make something I could cherish forever.”

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

Follow the Campus Clipper on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!

Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

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College Savings: How to Haggle Your Way to the Best Souvenirs

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

I have a confession to make. . . . Are you listening? Good. Well, here goes…

I’m a packrat.

I can’t help it. Wherever I go I like to take mementoes with me. My best friend calls me the Souvenir Kleptomaniac. If there’s a free gift or college discounts to be had, I’m there. At restaurants I save the little business cards and menus and circle what I ate. I keep receipts from purchases in other countries just because there’s a different language on them.  I’m a sucker for nostalgia and remembering my trip in every detail possible is important to me. Although people aren’t generally this extreme, the act of bringing home a keepsake is usually one that people follow. The most important thing about souvenir shopping is getting the most for your money without going bankrupt.

As discussed earlier, sometimes it’s hard to pack everything you need in one suitcase. However, make sure you leave some extra space in it so you have room to bring things back.  You don’t want to have to buy an extra piece of luggage to fit everything you want to bring home. Extra luggage means more plane space, means more money out of your pocket.

Be wary of scams.
If you’re going to a country that makes a lot of money off of tourism chances are the people there are waiting for you: and they’re prepared. They want your business and they want you to spend your money on keychains and postcards and bottle openers with funny sayings on them. Don’t feel the need to do your entire souvenir shopping in one day at the same place.

My friend bought a hat from a vendor in China for 25¥ ($5!) that ripped only seconds after purchasing it.

My friend bought a hat from a vendor in China for 25¥ ($5!) that ripped only seconds after purchasing it.

Do not buy souvenirs at the airport.
Those T-shirts that say I HEART [insert country’s name here] aren’t going anywhere. You will see them wherever you go throughout the country, and will probably get a better deal on them in other stores than in the first one you see.

Learn to haggle.
And don’t be ashamed of doing it! The locals want your money, and chances are the initial price they are asking for that miniature sculpture of that famous landmark is a lot higher than they expect you to pay. Haggle with vendors for a better deal. If you are uncomfortable with the asking price—walk away! You’re not obligated to buy anything, and many times walking away will encourage vendors to immediately drop their asking price.

We bought cute panda hats in China that we found a week later for half the price.

We bought cute panda hats in China that we found a week later for half the price.

Save your money for one priceless gift for yourself.
That’s not to say don’t buy yourself anything else the whole trip. However, study abroad trips leave lasting impressions. Having one precious item to take home from your adventure will mean a lot to you in years to come.

 

My favorite purchase of the trip: a Jade necklace. It's very special and something I will treasure forever.

My favorite purchase of the trip: a Jade necklace. It’s very special and something I will treasure forever.

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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Cultural Cuisine: Eating Your Way Around the World

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Writer and traveler Deborah Cater once said, “You have to taste culture to understand it”—and she wasn’t wrong. When you go to a foreign country and choose to eat only foods you are familiar with then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Traveling is all about trying new things—and food is one of the most important ones. In China, there are so many unique local dishes to try so you shouldn’t let fear of the unknown get in the way of experiencing the country like the locals do.

Sure we’ve all gone to our local Chinese takeout place and have ordered the pork Lo Mein or General Tso Chicken, but if you take the time to explore the country you’ll find non-Americanized Chinese food that’s definitely worth a try.

One of the most popular dishes to try if you find yourself in Beijing is the Peking Duck. This famous dish has been prepared since the imperial era and is served with steamed pancakes and eaten with scallion, cucumber and sweet bean sauce. Traditionally the meat is sliced thin by the cook right in front of you, which is definitely fun to watch. Two of the most notable restaurants are Quanjude and Bianyifang in Beijing, China.

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A chef prepares to carve a Peking Duck.

Peking Duck is traditionally served on a duck shaped plate.

Peking Duck is traditionally served on a duck shaped plate.

 

We all know that Italy is famous for their pasta; but did you know that the world’s oldest known noodles were actually discovered along the Yellow River in China? Dating back to roughly 4000 years BP, noodles have been a staple food in China—and watching hand pulled noodles being made is definitely something to go see if you visit. Hand pulled noodles, or Lamian, is made by stretching and folding the dough into strands. This unique method of making noodles originated in China and dates back to 1504. Lamian literally means pull or stretch, lā, (拉), noodle, miàn (麵) and watching a professional noodle chef pull noodles is a tourist attraction in itself!

The process of preparing hand pulled noodles is so quick that it happens in a blur!

The process of preparing hand pulled noodles is so quick that it happens in a blur!

Whether you’re traveling to China, or any other country, make sure that if you have food allergies you are well prepared. The chefs know what ingredients they use to prepare their food with and a language barrier shouldn’t stop you from being safe. Having a restaurant card is a great way to stay safe, and still be able to enjoy many of the delicious unique foods available. The card clearly states in another language the types of food you are not allowed to eat and your servers and chefs can take it from there.

Gluten-Free restaurant card picture taken from www.chinahighlights.com/

Gluten-Free restaurant card picture taken from www.chinahighlights.com/

Also, take the time to find out if the water is safe to drink in your country of origin. Often times it’s just easier to choose to drink only bottled water for the duration of your stay. You know it’s clean and safe, and you definitely don’t want to get sick while studying abroad!

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

 

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College Savings and Saving Space in Your Suitcase: What to Pack When Studying Abroad

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

When I fantasize about traveling it’s always the same: one neatly packed backpack with just the essentials. Unfortunately, I am not a light packer and so this is never the case. When it comes to studying abroad you want to make sure you’re properly prepared for whatever you may encounter on your trip. It’s never a good idea to assume that a foreign country has exactly what you’re looking for. Try to find college discounts for certain items before your trip and you can save yourself a lot of trouble once you’re there. So what if you’re labeled the “mom” of your trip? Being prepared is never a bad thing—and chances are your new friends will thank you.

Before your trip it’s important to at least attempt to learn the language of the country, or at least learn some key phrases. Rosetta Stone is a great option, but for those of us on a budget there are free smartphone apps readily available. Mindsnacks is a really helpful app I found before my trip to China that allowed me to start learning the language through a series of fun interactive games. If you upgrade to the full version for $5, you’ll get access to 1000 words and phrases, 9 unique games, and 50 lessons to master. This app is available in many different languages and the upgrade is definitely worth the money!

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Do some research about the weather you’ll experience during the months you’ll be there and pack your clothes accordingly. You don’t want to be the one wearing sweaters in the heat or shorts in the snow. Make sure you have a solid stock of any medicines or vitamins you may take every day. Regular toiletries are an essential and it’s always handy to buy Tide-To-Go, packets of Downy or any other fabric soap just in case you need to do a wash at a moment’s notice.

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Sometimes laundry gets expensive in a foreign country.

 

Check to see what banks are available in the country you’re going to. Many countries often have branches that are linked with Bank of America so if you don’t have an account, open one up. It’s free and you won’t have to pay fees every time you grab some cash from the ATMs. The China Construction Bank, found all over China, doesn’t charge any fees as long as you have a BoA card. You can easily close your BoA account once returning to America.

Other important items are charger adapters for your specific country of origin. The outlets in America are not the same in every country and you do not want to be that person with the hair straightener exploding in your hair!

Also, to stay in touch with family and friends during your trip, set up a Gmail, Skype, Viber, and Whatsapp accounts. These are free ways to connect with your loved ones through email, phone calls, video and text messaging all through WiFi. You don’t want mom to get a $356 dollar phone bill because you accidentally used your data while roaming, do you?

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

Follow the Campus Clipper on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!

Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

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